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Investigations Slam Utah Officer for Nurse’s Violent Arrest: ‘Inappropriate, Unreasonable, Unwarranted’

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A pair of investigations found that a Utah detective violated police policy in July when he violently detained a nurse who refused to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient.

Two investigations into the headline-making case of nurse Alex Wubbels found that Salt Lake City Det. Jeff Payne and his supervisor violated several department policies on July 26 when Payne dragged Wubbels from a hospital lobby.

“[Payne’s] conduct toward Ms. Wubbels in this incident was inappropriate, unreasonable, unwarranted, discourteous, disrespectful, and has brought significant disrespute on both [Payne] as a Police Officer and on the Department as a whole,” investigators said in a report obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

Alex Wubbels
Rick Bowmer/AP

Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced the findings during a Wednesday news conference, revealing that Payne and Lt. James Tracy violated at least five policies.

The policies range from officer conduct to arrest procedures, according to the Tribune.

Late last month, Wubbels released a video of the moments Payne forcibly handcuffed her and took her to his police cruiser after she refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient who was suspected in a fatal crash.

During the encounter, Wubbels told the detective that both the law and the University of Utah Hospital’s policies prevented her from letting him have access to the patient’s blood.

The situation unfolded after a collision in northern Utah left one driver dead and another badly injured, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Footage of the encounter showed Wubbels, Payne and a pair of hospital security officers in the lobby as she explained to the men that hospital policy forbids her from taking blood from the unconscious patient without a warrant or the patient’s consent.

Appearing frustrated with Wubbels’ stance, Payne is then shown grabbing Wubbels and pulling her through the hospital doors before slamming her against a wall. Payne is shown handcuffing the nurse and placing her in the front seat of a police car. She was later released and was not charged with a crime, according to the Washington Post.

Biskupski apologized to Wubbels for the encounter, and noted that Payne and Tracy have 20 days to respond to one of the investigations.

Biskupski added that Chief Mike Brown would receive the findings, from both the internal affairs investigation and the civilian review board, in order to decide whether the men should be fired.

Earlier this month, Wubbels and her attorney, Karra Porter, appeared on the Today show where Wubbels announced that she is considering filing a lawsuit.

“Nothing, by any means, has been off the table,” Wubbels said of a potential suit. She added of the incident: “This can’t be happening. It should never have happened. And, if I have anything to say about it, it won’t ever happen again.’